Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
2 August 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Krymske and Popasne. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars in several locations on the Donetsk sector of the front. Russian-terrorist forces fired over 260 mortar shells, the highest number this summer. The most intense shelling by Russian-terrorist forces was near Zaytseve-Mayorsk, Avdiyivka and Opytne. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka and the Hnutove-Shyrokyne line with mortars, firing over 130 mortar shells. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Novomykhailivka, Taramchuk and Hranitne. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. Former Head of Party of Regions parliamentary faction remanded to pre-trial detention
Oleksandr Yefremov, the former head of the Party of Regions parliamentary faction, was remanded to pre-trial detention for 60 days by the Kyiv Pechersk district court on 1 August. On 30 July, Yefremov was detained at Boryspil International Airport. He is suspected of several criminal offenses, including premeditated attempts to change the borders of Ukraine in breach of the Constitution and assisting efforts to organize and establish the terrorist organization “Luhansk Peoples’ Republic,” the Office of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine reported.
3. Ukraine’s President holds phone conversation with UK Prime Minister
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko spoke with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on 1 August. Poroshenko’s press service reported, “Theresa May has confirmed that the position of the United Kingdom as regards sanctions against Russia was unchanged: sanctions must remain until full implementation of the Minsk agreements. The UK Prime Minister has also underscored strong commitment to the policy of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea by Russia. […]In the course of the conversation, the interlocutors have also discussed the continuation of British financial and expert assistance in the implementation of reforms in Ukraine and training of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”
4. US Ambassador to Ukraine: if sanctions on Russia don’t work, they should be strengthened
In an interview with Austrian paper Der Standard on 31 July, US Ambassador to Ukraine G. Pyatt stated, “This is not a ‘frozen conflict’ if one day two people are killed and the next day three. On the contrary: The security situation is deteriorating. […] There are still problems of access for the OSCE observers. 90 percent of those access denials are committed on territory controlled by Russia. Three unmanned aircraft have been shot down recently. In two cases we have images that prove that weapons of Russian origin were used to shoot down the UAVs. The objective remains to restore Ukrainian control over the territory of the entire state. Russia is still far from implementing the obligations under the Minsk Agreement. […] We must not yield to the argument that the sanctions don’t work and we should therefore lift them. On the contrary: if sanctions do not work, they should be strengthened. […] Sanctions can only be effective – and they were – if we remain united. We have to bring back the debate about why those sanctions were implemented. They were implemented in response to the worst violation of European security principles since the end of the Cold War. This principle is: You cannot change international borders by force.” A full transcript of the interview is available at http://ukraine.usembassy.gov/